A Guide to Lesser-Known Guitar Brands

Perhaps the best known guitar brands in America are Gibson and Fender. They have many guitars and basses that have become icons, and they are used in all corners of the world by legendary musicians and beginners alike.

While searching for a guitar, these two brands are great choices. But there are many other guitar companies whose products are every bit as good (many would say better). Here is a short list of some of the competition. Every one of these companies makes fine products that you may want to consider.


In America, Yamaha is probably best known as a motorcycle brand. But did you know that it started out in the 1800s as a musical instrument company? It actually began with the manufacture of pianos and organ reeds. Today, they are still one of the most respected musical instrument manufacturers in the business with a wide range of well-made pianos, drums, brass instruments, and guitars.

Their multiple acoustic, electric, and bass guitar lines offer a great guitar at every level of play and affordability. Their basses are played by Nathan East (Eric Clapton, Phil Collins), Michael Anthony (Van Halen, Chickenfoot), and Lee Sklar (James Taylor). Yamaha guitarists include Billy Sheehan, Randy Bachman, and Rick Springfield.


Great guitarists like George Benson, Pat Metheney, Steve Vai, and Joe Satriani can choose any guitar brand they want. They choose Ibanez. These well-made guitars are generally priced below their competition and are very playable. Everything from acoustic basses to leading edge electric 6-strings are available, making Ibanez a well-rounded guitar company.


Based in San Diego, Carvin offers custom guitars and well-made amps at very competitive prices. A visit to their website gives you the opportunity to build your dream guitar or bass from scratch. You can choose the body shape, the wood, the neck, the finish, the color, the pickups, the other electronics, even the headstock! Create the guitar you want, buy American, and spend less than you would at retail stores for similar imported product. The folks at Carvin also offer numerous high-quality stock models. John McVie (Fleetwood Mac) is a Carvin player, as is Allan Holdsworth.

Schecter Guitar Research

Possibly the least-known brand listed here, Schecter makes some of the most beautiful and well-manufactured guitars around. Their renowned Hellraiser series guitars are beautiful, easy to play, and last forever. Nikki Sixx thinks so, as does Prince – there are plenty of others who play Schecters, but these two say it all.

Paul Reed Smith Guitars

Paul Reed Smith guitar
Paul Reed Smith guitar

Have you heard of PRS Guitars? Carlos Santana, Neal Schon of Journey, former Michael Jackson guitarist Orianthi, and jazz legend Al Di Meola have. PRS is their guitar of choice. Carefully constructed and beautifully finished, their acoustic and electric lines are renowned for their durability and sound. New exclusive models get introduced each year, so you are quite possibly buying a collector’s item when you purchase a PRS guitar.

This article only scratches the surface of the list of great guitar makers. Do some research and try some of these brands out. You won’t regret it!



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